Our team is excited to announce that UNLADYLIKE2020 has received funding from South Dakota Humanities Council, which supports education, literary, and public humanities programs throughout the state. This funding will support the research behind our film about Zitkála-Šá, who was born in South Dakota- as well as engagement events in South Dakota during Native American Heritage Month, November, in 2020, sharing the film and our research.
Zitkála-Šá (1876–1938), also known by the name Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, was born on a reservation in South Dakota and sent to a Quaker missionary-run boarding school at age 8. Trained as a violinist at the New England Conservatory of Music, she wrote the libretto for the first Native American opera in 1913. As an author, she published in prestigious national magazines such as Harper’s and The Atlantic, writing about Native American struggles to retain their cultural identities amid pressure to assimilate into European American culture. Becoming a political activist, she joined the Society of American Indians, and in 1926 co-founded the National Council of American Indians to lobby for U.S. citizenship, civil rights, and preserving Native American heritage and ways of life.